Thursday, October 20, 2011

Welcome to all the Kindergarten Children!

Last week the children from the K/1 class joined the children in the kindergarten class full time. The classes had been combined for math, lunch and recess all year, but are now together for the entire day. We are delighted to have all the children enjoying the same program and having the full kindergarten experience. Kindergarten is a time when social skills are emphasized along with academic skills. Play time is highly valued and used as an opportunity to learn many new skills, as well as how to work out issues that arise among friends. Welcome, our friends!

We want to thank EveLynn and Julie for subbing in our classroom this fall. They have enriched our curriculum immeasurably. Welcome to Beth who is returning for her second year as a para in kindergarten. Children are benefitting tremendously from Beth's skills in programming for individual children and her willingness to teach lessons to the whole group. She brings many new ideas and projects for the classroom to enjoy.

Some Requests

We need some back-up snacks in kindergarten for children who forget to bring their snack from home. We would appreciate donations of pretzels, goldfish crackers, graham crackers etc.

We would appreciate all children wearing shoes or sneakers to school and not sandals or flip-flops. Children are more prone to accidents on climbing equipment when they have footwear that does not provide support.

We plan to reinvigorate the Kindergarten Halloween Parade on Monday, October 31st. Children are invited to bring a costume to school. We will change into our costumes around 1:30 and ask to visit other classrooms in the early afternoon. Are there any volunteers for a simple snack that we could serve the children at the end of the day?

We will send out order forms for Scholastic Book Clubs early next week. You will be able to order books online if you are interested in some quality, less expensive books for your child.

Cooking Projects

Thank you Julie for making wonderful kale chips with the bounty from our garden. We have made playdough too. We cooked apple crisp today and will eat it tomorrow!

Language Arts

We have been reading pre-decodable books where children are learning to recognize sight words, to track print from left to right and to match words in print to spoken words with 1:1 correspondence. Children have been learning new sounds in Jolly Phonics and have brought home books which show the gestures they are learning. If your child is enthused, you might want to practice some of these gestures at home. We continue to practice handwriting several times a week as well. We've been doing some writing and will be talking about the beginning, middle and end of stories next week.

Counting, Size and Comparisons in Math

We have been learning new games in math. Most recently we have been playing a game called Compare where children each turn over a card and decide who has the larger number. Some children are able to compare the numbers, some count pictures of the objects on the card and some children build towers representing the number on the card. In a game called Grab, Count and Compare each child takes a handful of cubes, builds a tower with them and then compares their tower to their partner's. We have also compared the lengths of different objects to determine which are longer and which are shorter than a stick of ten cubes. The children are learning how to have conversations about their ideas, listen to each other's ideas and think about what their classmates are saying. It's exciting to see a math community developing.

Trees! Trees! Trees!

We have continued to learn about trees as we move into fall. We made a marvelous tree which is hanging in the conference room. Thank you EveLynn for your hard work with the children, building the tree from the "ground" up. Children did leaf rubbings, printed leaves using rubber stamps and drew some leaves. Groups of children have chosen a tree to follow through the seasons. Last week they went outside to make a drawing of their tree. You can see your child's pictures during parent conferences.

Second Steps Curriculum

We have been practicing skills to help us be better learners. After learning to focus our attention with "atteno-scopes" earlier in the year, we are now working on self-talk. Children are encouraged to repeat to themselves instructions they have been given as they begin their work. This is a device to help them learn skills of executive function or teaching yourself how to learn. We have also talked about the importance of asking questions when you are not sure what to do. You can ask other children what you need to do and then ask the teacher if you still aren't sure.

Book Club

Thank you to the Library Apprentices. The kindergartners are able to attend book club for the first time as a result of a group of children who are willing to read to them during lunch time on Mondays. We eat and read in the classroom with 5-6 older children reading to small groups of kindergartners.

Our Buddies at Last!

We are starting to meet with our buddies, though the older children are involved in rehearsals during the time we meet, so we see some buddies one week and other buddies the next week. We are planning a walk to collect leaves for a project which kindergartners and 5/6 buddies traditionally work on together. They helped us harvest a pumpkin from the garden for the Fall Harvest Dinner. Thank you Julie for the gorgeous pumpkins you grew!